Summary: If we continue to persevere, God will answer our prayers.


Text: John 11:1-44


1. Read John 11:1-7

2. Several years ago I heard a song called He’s An On Time God. The song said "He may not come when you call him, but he’ll be there just in time."

3. Perhaps we don’t get our prayers answered because we give up to soon. Often times we lose faith because God’s time table doesn’t match ours.

Propostion: If we continue to persevere, God will answer our prayers.

Transition: You see, God always has a purpose in what he does.

I. Sometimes He Doesn’t Come When You Call Him (1-16)

A. He Abode Two Days

1. You heard me correctly, sometimes he doesn’t come when you call him.

2. In verse one John says "Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha."

a. Though John only introduces us to the family of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus at the end of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus and the disciples often visited their home.

b. Jesus enjoyed their close friendship and hospitality on his visits to Jerusalem, for Bethany was a village just outside of the city.

c. Lazarus was sick, so the sisters contacted Jesus, their friend who had healed so many.

2. So they sent him a message saying "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick."

a. This wasn’t just some "Tom, Dick, or Harry" off of the street.

b. This wasn’t some leaper.

c. This wasn’t some crippled beggar looking for a handout.

d. This was Lazarus, the one Jesus loved.

3. Now notice what Jesus does - NOTHING! It says "When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was."

a. This statement of Jesus’ love for the family explains that it was not lack of love that kept Jesus from going to them.

b. Humanly speaking, Jesus would have wanted to go to them immediately. But he was constrained by the Father’s timing.

c. God’s timing is always perfect, whether in guiding his Son through his ministry on earth, or in guiding us today and answering our prayers.

B. He Has His Reasons

1. If God doesn’t answer your prayers right away it is not because he doesn’t love you, or he’s not concerned about your situation.

2. He always acts in our life with purpose. We shall see latter in this message that there were things that he needed to accomplish in the lives of those involved that would not have been accomplished had he gone right away.

3. Isaiah 55:8-9 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts."

4. Just because God doesn’t always act exactly when we want him to doesn’t mean that he has abandoned us. Whatever the reason is we can count that it is in our best interest.

5. Illustration: When our children are little and we want them to eat broccoli but they want candy, do we give them the candy? No because the candy maybe what they want, but the broccoli is what they need.

Transition: It’s the same way with God, he wants us to have what we need.

II. Sometimes He Does It to Teach Us (17-27)

A. Lord, If You Had Been Here

1. Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days by the time Jesus arrived.

a. In the warm climate of Palestine, a dead body would decompose quickly, so a person’s body was often buried the same day of death.

b. When Jesus and the disciples arrived in Bethany, many Jews from Jerusalem had gathered to console Lazarus’s family, and some of those who had arrived were religious leaders.

c. In Jewish society, prolonged mourning for the dead was considered an essential part of every funeral.

2. When Martha found out that Jesus had finally arrived she went to greet him.

a. Now guys, we all know what happens when we get home latter than we were supposed to.

b. Where have you been? Why are you late? Why didn’t you call? You couldn’t get to a phone?

c. Jesus was not Martha’s husband, but it didn’t matter he was a man and she was upset.

3. When she came to Jesus she said "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."

a. She was confident that Jesus’ presence would have prevented Lazarus’s death.

b. The implication for us is that we should not quickly assume that God has let us down when we are in the midst of difficulties.

4. However, Martha had not lost faith becasue she says "But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You."

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